A few days ago I got yet another of those awful emails from so-called PRs. You know the type. The ones who clearly haven’t read your blog and instead have conducted some sort of misinformed keyword search in order to determine if their piece of crap content would be a “good fit” to share on your blog, before conducting blogger outreach without actually thinking it through.
You can read the email exchange in the tweet at the end of this post, but let’s break it down before I go into the reasons why we have to fight back on this sort of rubbish.
The Outreach Email You Should Be Mad At
So, let’s start with the outreach email subject line: “Love your content about cat and dog! (and a proposal)”.
At this stage I’m already prepared for this to be the 48959457839th email I’ve gotten where people assume my blog is about cats. On a base level, I can’t blame them but it’d take about a fifth of a second of actually looking at my blog to realise NOPE. No cats with whiskers, just a 20-something Cat posing awkwardly and blogging about her life.
You’re probably thinking at this stage I should click delete, right? Maybe I should have. But nope, I opened that email up and hilarity ensued. But let’s start slow, shall we?
My name is Kate, I am the main editor at Top Reveal (http://topreveal.com).”
Of course, at this stage I’ve just got to open a new tab and check out the website. To the surprise of no one, it was a content farm.
What’s a content farm? It’s basically a terrible looking website that posts regular rubbish content that it then shares with bloggers to try and get a link to improve their SEO. Don’t ever do a follow link to these garbage sites because it could backfire and damage your SEO efforts. But anyway, let’s move on to the next part of the email shall we?
“While browsing your site, I noticed you have an amazing article from this page:[LINK TO MY ‘THE CURIOUS INCIDENT’ REVIEW]
My team actually just published a comprehensive article on The Little Things That Separate and Unite Cat Owners vs Dog Owners which I think your visitors would truly appreciate and add value to your awesome article.
You can check it out here: http://topreveal.com/cat-owners-vs-dog-owners”
So here – our lovely friend Kate has done another keyword search to find an article about dogs. What she hasn’t bothered to take the time to do is realise that actually, this article is a review of a play. SPOILER ALERT. The dog is dead by the time the play starts. Soz if I ruined that for anyone, but most people even open the book the play is based on knowing that information.
Now I’m at a bit of a loss, because this dreadful article about cat owners vs dog owners would not at all fit with my review of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime. As for it “adding value”. Well, I literally scoffed as I read it.
To add insult to injury, here’s the last part of the outreach email…
“If you were willing to add our link to that page, I would be more than happy to share it to thousands of our social followers to help you gain some visibility in exchange.
Let me know what you think and thank you for your consideration!
Wow! You’d share my article to your thousands of followers? Lucky me! Let’s look at those social accounts shall we?
Hmm…as suspected…sure you have quite a few followers (over 5k on Twitter, 1k on Facebook), but next to no engagement on your posts. HOW INTRIGUING. Annoyingly, I can’t call you out as definitely having fake followers because Social Blade can’t gather enough data on you, but I’m going to go on a hunch and assume at least a few of those are paid for.
That’s not even going into the whole frustration of PRs, SEOs and brands assuming that bloggers should except a social share as a payment. Even if your blog earnings aren’t paying the rent or bills – you still have the right to be paid for doing this sort of thing.
But please don’t do this sort of thing – even for actual real money. It’s not worth it and your readers will see right through it. But don’t ignore these emails either. It’s 👏 time 👏 to 👏 clap 👏 back.
The Response You Should Send To Bad PRs/SEOs/Brands That Are Taking The Piss
So, are you ready?
Because now we’re going to break down the response I sent to their laughable outreach attempt. Just FYI, they haven’t replied to this and they may have just deleted it. But we need to let these jokers know that they are wasting our time and what they’re doing is totally not OK.
Please accept my apology for curtness, but you might notice if you read the blog post you linked that it is a review of a play, so has little to nothing to do with the content you have produced.
I will not be adding a link to the piece on my blog, and you may also like to know that sharing my blog to your social media followers is not an acceptable form of payment to a blogger – just a tip you may wish to consider.
I’m not sorry for being curt at all, really. But the “sweary” version of a response to this sort of thing means they win, really. Kill them with kindness, instead.
I decided not to call them out too much on their terrible research and outreach methods that determined my blog “suitable” to share their article. I had to make that point, but the more important point to make is that sharing your blog is not an acceptable form of payment to a blogger. But as people don’t tend to like being told what to do, I offered it as a kind piece of advice instead.
If enough of us start doing this instead of automatically clicking ‘Trash’, or simply ignoring these emails, this madness might eventually cease. Hey, it’s worth a try.
Oh, and here’s the exchange as a screenshot. I’ll keep y’all updated if I ever get a response!
If anyone is interested, here is the email exchange. Yeah, I know I could've been nicer but I'm so done with this lazy outreach. pic.twitter.com/EGQ7V7yiNX
— Cat (@moreaboutcat) April 25, 2017